a quick one
February 20, 2015 3:58 AM   Subscribe

In a sentence (or less), when it's late at night, you can't fall asleep, and your thoughts begin to spiral out of control, how do you comfort yourself?
posted by t(h)om(as) to Religion & Philosophy (87 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Somebody (probably on this very site) suggested thinking the word "the" at random, to break up any thoughts before they can really take shape.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:02 AM on February 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

Not to comfort, but to distract myself, I listen to old radio shows like Dragnet, Gunsmoke, the Great Gildersleeve, and others. They give my mind something to follow, but in most cases they're not so riveting that I would try to stay awake to hear the ending.

There are an awful lot of open cases I don't know how Joe Friday solved.
posted by itstheclamsname at 4:09 AM on February 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

I turn on a soft light and/or one 30 minute sitcom that I've seen before.

This is probably not the best sleep hygiene in the world, but it works for me.
posted by telegraph at 4:09 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I try to focus on the physical sensations of being in bed - warmth, comfort etc, and do a sort of gentle mindfulness meditation where I try to return to those feelings rather than the spinning thoughts.
posted by crocomancer at 4:11 AM on February 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

I have read before that if you aren't asleep after 20 minutes then stop trying and do something else, and I have found this to be effective to some degree. Reading generally for me to get my mind out of the 'skittering thoughts' trap.

The other thing I have been doing recently is visualising in my mind as if there was a black square 10-15 cm in front of my eyes blotting out my vision and focussing in on the square.
posted by biffa at 4:15 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Many years ago on Sesame Street, we learned Bert (of Bert and Ernie fame) was a big fan of this TV show that was just a still picture of big stone H sitting there while a deep male voice said, "H... H... H..." Sometimes when I can't sleep, I will mentally watch the "H" show.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:17 AM on February 20, 2015 [45 favorites]

There is a line of advice of preparing for meditation which says that you should acknowledge each of the thoughts that enters your mind, then mentally put it aside and wait for the next one. Finally you get the sort of emptiness of mind which you want - for either sleep or meditation. One variant of this would be to actually write the thought down on a sheet of paper and put it to the side. Occupy your mind with something very simple such as "breathe in, breathe out".
posted by rongorongo at 4:18 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seriously. If this is a regular occurrence for you, the inability to fall asleep due to racing thoughts can become a pretty vicious cycle of worrying about not falling asleep/not falling asleep, it can be hard to escape from. I will frequently recommend to clients that they consider utilizing a mild sleep aid (Trazodone is just a suggestion, there are others as well) to assure falling asleep at a consistent time for a week or so. Get your sleep cycle back in sync with your life.

A bit of conscious daydreaming as you fall asleep is helpful. I will choose an activity I enjoy (such as fly-fishing) and imagine a trip to the river, picturing the preparation, the walk down the trail, wading in the water, putting the fly on the line, casting, walking, catching a fish... Rinse and repeat as necessary until I doze off....
posted by HuronBob at 4:20 AM on February 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

Tell stories to myself.
Mentally re-explore an area I have not been to for a long while.
Recite poetry silently.

Disclaimer: Have never suffered from insomnia, sometimes complain that I often fall asleep too fast.
posted by Jane the Brown at 4:24 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Wow, I'd forgotten all about the H show. Thanks, Ursula Hitler.

I calculate sequences of numbers in my mind: say, powers of two, or Fibonnacci numbers, or counting backwards from 2300 in 17s.

My mum says she tries to recall the states of the USA in alphabetical order, which is the same kind of thing.
posted by daisyk at 4:24 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I picture myself on the hood of a very fast car driving through mountain roads. Go through tunnels, go through villages, drive faster and faster with curves and streetlights zipping by. I follow along with my eyes. It's mesmerizing.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 4:24 AM on February 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

I watch a sitcom on my phone until I start to feel drowsy, then I put the phone screen-down next to my pillow and listen to the dialogue as I drift off. Podcasts and audiobooks are also good for this.
posted by bunderful at 4:27 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Half a Xanax. Knocks me out and doesn't do anything weird to me like Ambien, and is completely out of my system by morning.
posted by HotToddy at 4:30 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

4-7-8 breathing.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:42 AM on February 20, 2015 [10 favorites]

I like the poorly named Sleep With Me podcast. It is like that boring cousin who would just drone on and on with stories that went nowhere and meant nothing. Nothing to see here folks, just go to sleep.
posted by InkaLomax at 4:42 AM on February 20, 2015 [7 favorites]

Mostly: tablet games, puzzles, riddles or logic problems, books (reading or listening), podcasts.

My favorite bedtime podcast comes from Kate Baker, the podcast editor and narrator for Clarkesworld Magazine (sci-fi fiction short story) podcasts, who has a wonderful, very soothing voice. The podcasts are free, but I subscribe to the magazine mostly to support her continued involvement.
posted by taz at 4:46 AM on February 20, 2015

What works for me is thinking about abstract or semi-abstract things (like the math problems or the H show cited) or thinking about a pleasant (to me) but mundane task like a garden project.
posted by beagle at 4:52 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Going through the alphabet and trying to think of a movie or book title for each letter.
posted by tiger tiger at 4:55 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I envision myself all alone, on the rocky shore of a small island in a lake, in my favorite vacation spot.
posted by akk2014 at 5:03 AM on February 20, 2015

I like to think about things I'm planning to do in the future. Mostly nice things I'm looking forward to. Sometimes I even get good ideas that I can use when it's time to do that thing!
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:06 AM on February 20, 2015

I read a comfort food book, like the Little House books or Wee Free Men.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:08 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I listen to audiobooks I know very, very well (typically Harry Potter) because almost anything new will keep me up out of curiosity. I usually play a few logic games and then doze off while listening. Currently I play Flow Free and Lyne.
posted by jeather at 5:10 AM on February 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

If the intrusive thoughts are made of words that you "hear", then listening to different words can help block it out.

Audio books, some kind of self-help / relaxation tape thing that you like, TV in the background, music with prominent lyrics.

I find that REALLY LOUD MUSIC works very well to block out thoughts, but probably doesn't help with sleep!
posted by emilyw at 5:11 AM on February 20, 2015

I listen to lullabies.
posted by SyraCarol at 5:17 AM on February 20, 2015

BBC World Service podcast.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:20 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I remind myself it's my chimp talking, not me, so I can ignore its catastrophising (see also the book).
posted by dowcrag at 5:21 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ah! Swirling thoughts. This is a function of anxiety.

The first thing to try is increasing B12. Anemia causes this.

The second thing is to address the anxiety. I take a low dose of Celexa for anxiety, and that's great. I added Trazadone for sleep and I take half. It's freaking BRILLIANT!

If this is a regular thing. Get tested for anemia, and assessed for anxiety.

This is no way to live and I only wish I had addressed the anxiety issues sooner, before I started having panic attacks.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:36 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I play the alphabet game with music I know. I pick a genre - something not too stimulating or exciting, like Bach chorales or songs from the hymnal, or lullabies - and I think of a song in that genre which begins with A. Then I play the first verse/movement through in my mind. Then I think of one that starts with B.

On my worst nights I still only make it to L. Most nights I wake up the next morning and can't remember any of my song choices past H.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:39 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I pick a happy memory and focus on trying to envision it in as much detail as I can.
posted by kagredon at 5:40 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

When my mind won't let me be I usually force it to stop by selecting a happy memory (usually my favourite holiday) and imagining the streets/buildings/things that I can focus on.
posted by twistedonion at 5:44 AM on February 20, 2015

I give up and go catch up on something on Hulu. Like I am RIGHT NOW.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:45 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Another thing that actually works when all else fails (for me) is to repeat a series of numbers/ do math / programming in my head.

There's nothing worse than not being able to stop the sometimes very dark thoughts (in my case), if you suffer from this and nothing above helps, please go see a doc!
posted by twistedonion at 5:48 AM on February 20, 2015

When I'm having trouble with my thoughts, prayer can provide a good anchor.
posted by alms at 5:54 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Twelve bong hits.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:00 AM on February 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Orchestra music with a slow tempo and no voices played just loudly enough to hear clearly, and then try and concentrate on following just one type of instrument.

Progressive relaxation," My feet are feeling really heavy...." working your way over your body and then back again.

Create a list of things with sublists, such as the complete curriculum for Hogwarts, or all the supplies needed for living in a drafty medieval castle, or the types of fodder and bedding Noah would have taken on the ark: "The ants would need sand trays, sugar or some other concentrated nutrients, possibly breadcrumbs...."

Prayer, especially gratitude prayer. Belief in a Higher Power is not required.

Cuddle something, such as a live dog or a stuffed teddy walrus, focusing your awareness on the tactile sensations the cuddlee provides you.

Warm milk.

Pretend to be sleepy for twenty minutes before you get into bed: shamble, let your eyelids sag and your eyes drift closed, yawn, let your speech drift off, sag.

Start turning the lights off at least forty-five minutes before bed so that your environment gets progressively darker, avoiding going from dark to light rooms, such as back to the bright bathroom to brush your teeth. You can walk around with a shielded candle doing your bedtime routines such as making sure the cat is inside and the kids are not still up and the coffee machine is switched on.

Go to bed with a non-standard security object, such as your breakfast packed into a lunch bag if you suffer from food anxieties, or your cell-phone so that you can call your mother, or the paramedics, or a survival kit with your prescription medicine.

Upgrade your sleep environment, so that the sheets are smooth and crumb-free, there are no sags or errant springs in the mattress and the pillows are not icy cold and the bed so chilly that by the time your feet are warm enough for you to sleep you have cycled through to a wakeful sleep phase. (You can roll the covers down to the foot of the bed and iron the bottom sheet with a regular iron to warm the bed before you get into it, if your house is cold.)
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:08 AM on February 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

Start at your toes. Tense them. Go up your legs, tensing every muscle you can think of, one at a time, slowly, until your whole body is shuddering with intensity. Then relax your toes, relax your ankles, relax your calves, all the way up your body. It takes some concentration to relax one muscle at a time while the rest of you is still tense.

Then ten deep breaths, exhaling all the way.

Do the whole routine again.

It sounds kinda woo, but it's worked for me since I was a little kid. I rarely have trouble falling asleep as an adult, but used to stay up for hours when I was 8 or 9, musing on infinity. This method I developed (I was a very serious, very weird little kid) helps on the rare occasions I can't sleep.
posted by notsnot at 6:21 AM on February 20, 2015

Mindfulness breathing in general, and specifically a body scan meditation if just breathing awareness isn't doing the trick.
posted by Stacey at 6:22 AM on February 20, 2015

A bit of conscious daydreaming as you fall asleep is helpful. I will choose an activity I enjoy (such as fly-fishing) and imagine a trip to the river, picturing the preparation, the walk down the trail, wading in the water, putting the fly on the line, casting, walking, catching a fish... Rinse and repeat as necessary until I doze off....

Similar to this - there is a very specific place I have been to during a happy time of my life. It's a mountain meadow beside a lake. I picture myself laying down among the flowers, the sun on my face, dozing off.
posted by desjardins at 6:30 AM on February 20, 2015

I trace a square in my mind while counting my breaths with each line - 4 lines in to complete the square, 4 lines out to complete the next one, repeat.
posted by marginaliana at 6:38 AM on February 20, 2015

Here are the things that work for me (and this is a huge problem for me).
1. When in Colorado or Washington, a low level indica.

2. Lay in bed trying to remember if it's 7-4-8, 8-4-7, or whatever and try all of the variations. It something that puts me to sleep every time because it is a ridiculous activity that requires thought and action and is focused on putting you to sleep. I have been telling myself for months that I would look up the actual pattern, but later, tomorrow maybe. (Thanks Obscure Reference, now 4-7-8 is going to be stuck in my head and who knows if the actual actions will be as effective as the attempts to remember and try all of the variations.)

3. Thinking about sex. It's one topic that is always more interesting than all of the spiraling out of control thoughts of work and life. And it puts me to sleep. Weird, I guess.

I really think this is more about mindfulness than anything, consciously choosing to think about something else. (Or . . . self-medication, I guess.)
posted by Seamus at 6:48 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm going to link again to one of my favorite answers/recommendations , "Recognize. Refrain. Relax. And Resolve."
posted by gladly at 6:55 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I visualize my poor heated brain, and pouring cool very thick cream over it, very slowly so that it fills up all the wrinkles and crevices. Over and over. If desperate, I visualize gently deep cleaning my brain, and then I pour cool cream all over it again.
posted by mmiddle at 7:05 AM on February 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

I build houses in my head or sometimes just incredibly detailed rooms.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:08 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

"I can't do anything about any of this now."


"Glide, fur, banana, peace."
posted by jaguar at 7:12 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I read any book I like but have read before because it turns my brain mostly off and helps me get sleepy (I try to keep a few by the bed so I don't have to get up).

If reading doesn't work or I am afraid it will keep me up longer, I count backwards from 500 as slowly as I possibly can. If I catch myself thinking other thoughts, I restart the count.
posted by Mchelly at 7:18 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Lie still, and try not to think of anything.
posted by frobozz at 7:21 AM on February 20, 2015

Count my breaths by holding my breath for a count of five, exhale for a count of five, hold for a count of five and breath in for a count of five. If the counting to too fast, or too slow, making it a bit uncomfortable then you can adjust the number up or down.

I also pay attention to the rising and falling of my belly, or try to pay attention to every word of a podcast I'm listening to, or fantasizing about sex, but if I'm still tossing after 15 minutes I get out of bed.

I really think this is more about mindfulness than anything

It's the opposite actually, it's a form of distraction.
posted by redindiaink at 7:23 AM on February 20, 2015

For some reason, once when I tried some meditation, I suddenly got this image in my head: that I was in a sort of sleeping porch attached to a house in the woods. I've never seen the house before in my life, and I have no idea how my brain coughed up that image, but there it was. So I sort of went with that, and started "exploring" the house, and that actually zoned me out pretty fast. And today, every so often, I'll go back and try to "explore" more of the house as a result.

And when I say "explore", I mean truly let my subconscious dictate how the house looks - it's not like I consciously decide "I like yellow curtains" or whatever, I'll imagine I'm turning my head to look at the windows and "seeing" what's there. (There aren't any curtains, as it turns out - but there's a window seat, and when I went to "look" at what was under the window seat I saw some kind of painted decor that actually changes each time, and some books - but I fell asleep before I could see what books.)

I actually even tried that once when I was sick, and I ended up having a completely different place pop into my head, and I explored that instead. So that's the place-in-my-head for when I'm sick.

Try that -- try closing your eyes and imagining you're "somewhere other than here," and just let your brain cough up an impression of where that "here" is instead of deciding - and then whatever your brain coughs up, sort of mentally check it out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing some sort of guided relaxation. There are plenty of these available by searching on YouTube by for Progressive relaxation or Autogenic training. Listening to someone else telling you when to focus on creating different sensations in your body both gives you another voice to listen to, and re-focuses you from being in your head to being in your body. These tend to become more effective with some practice, so try it more than once or twice. I particularly like the NHS autogenic training (the heavy/warm type of progressive relaxation) because it is very non-woo.
posted by k8oglyph at 7:51 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by maryr at 8:12 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Think about something repetitive, and pleasant or comforting. No to-do lists, those generate anxiety. I think something like this is probably the basic idea behind mantra meditation.
posted by Anne Neville at 8:24 AM on February 20, 2015

I try to think of all the things I'm grateful for about the day behind me.

I try to focus only on my breath, setting aside all "word" thoughts.

I try to could to 100 visualizing each number as a totally different polished stone, lighting fixture, wood grain, carpet... anything with interesting visual and textural details.

I've given that last answer, at least, here before, so search for previous asks as well.
posted by ldthomps at 8:29 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I listen to relaxation/sleep podcasts/recordings, or white noise.
posted by radioamy at 8:33 AM on February 20, 2015

Drink something warm, even if you don't think you're thirsty. Herbal tea, warm milk, whatever. When I wake up in the middle of the night it's usually because I'm dehydrated, and then my brain gets busy. The drink usually works.
posted by tully_monster at 8:41 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try that -- try closing your eyes and imagining you're "somewhere other than here," and just let your brain cough up an impression of where that "here" is instead of deciding - and then whatever your brain coughs up, sort of mentally check it out.

I do something similar. You know those really weird, non-sensical and non-sequitur dreams you sometimes have when you're deep asleep? I make one of those up. I start with some random image, and bounce randomly from it to something else, tying a loose narrative to it, and it eventually feels so much like I'm dreaming that I just fade into sleep.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:42 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Two things:
1. A daily low dose SSRI has pretty much cured my anxiety.
2. I get up and make warm milk with honey, like my mom did for me when I couldn't sleep as a kid.
posted by sockermom at 8:47 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

These are huge, life-related anxieties, not just ones related to sleep? I used to write out my worries (longhand, in a journal) to purge them - this would also tire me out (because you have to set up descriptions, etc). It worked medium-well in combination with other things people have mentioned. I don't know why I don't do that anymore.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:02 AM on February 20, 2015

I close my eyes and pretend I'm in the nicest, most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. I keep a cold pack in the freezer and will put it under the pillowcase to cool my head. Sometimes I get a fresh pillowcase because I like that bleachy clean-hotel linens smell. And, as above: "Instead of oxygen and stress, Claudia thought now of hushed and quiet words: glide, fur, banana, peace."
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:21 AM on February 20, 2015

I remember a place from my past and go for a longish walk in my mind, just killing time, y'know...
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 9:54 AM on February 20, 2015

I used to imagine myself in a hammock, surrounded by lavender plants, and concentrated the sensory cues associated with that (swaying in the cool breeze, the fragrance, etc). Lately, I remember this terrific Lyn Never comment about the anxiety train and that visualization really helps as well.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:58 AM on February 20, 2015

Four-corner breathing or boring podcasts.
posted by telophase at 9:59 AM on February 20, 2015

"We don't solve (or decide!) major life issues at 3am."

I know this to be reasonable when I remind myself of it. But I need to remind myself.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:18 AM on February 20, 2015

NHK World tends to have really calming shows on. I tend to skip the news at that top of the hour.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:40 AM on February 20, 2015

Any mantra that you find beautiful or peaceful, such as any one of these for example, can serve as a thought-eraser, thought-replacer.
posted by Sir Rinse at 11:20 AM on February 20, 2015

I have stories, maybe three or four, that I tell myself in my head. I'll start with a random scene, watch it in my head in detail, and then usually fall asleep before it's over. I've been using the same scenes and stories for years and years.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:14 PM on February 20, 2015

Count backward from 100.
posted by cnc at 12:56 PM on February 20, 2015

Treat your anxiety.

Anecdote: I started gabapentin this week and I can sleep now a full 8 hours for the first time in over a decade. I had the same problem you have now before starting this medication, and literally the day I started the new medication I could sleep easily.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:29 PM on February 20, 2015

If it's a thought spiral or any sort of anxiety-related thing, I tell myself that I'll think about that in the morning and then I imagine building a wall around those thoughts to keep them from bothering me till I'm really to deal with them. I put a lot of effort into imagining the construction of the wall.

If it's just general sleeplessness, I listen to audiobooks that I've heard several times before, preferably something pretty light.
posted by darchildre at 1:30 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I listen to deep, cold, bleak dark ambient albums on repeat - Kammarheit's Asleep and Well Hidden and Thomas K├Âner's Daikan both work beautifully to lull me to sleep.
posted by velvet winter at 1:33 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

1/4 of a clonazepam - just a tiny bit shuts off the busy brain and I sleep comfortably and wake up bright and clear - I resorted to this after many years of trying other things.

Hope something else works for you, though, because no one wants to depend on a medication if they don't have to.
posted by aryma at 4:06 PM on February 20, 2015

I focus on a soothing song inside my head (Dona Nobis Pacem, Silent Night, the sarabande from the first Bach cello suite) and run through it over and over again. Really good way of blocking out intrusive thoughts.
posted by coppermoss at 4:39 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I breathe in and think, "Serenity," and breathe out and think, "peace." Over and over again. It is very calming and puts me to sleep.
posted by bearwife at 4:59 PM on February 20, 2015

Powers of two
posted by ch1x0r at 7:48 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I count as I breath - both the inhalation and exhalation get a number, and it goes like this: 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. (I don't let the numbers get very high before starting over)
posted by delezzo at 10:34 PM on February 20, 2015

I fantasize about something that really turns me on, the kinkier the better, and masturbate.
posted by h00py at 2:41 AM on February 21, 2015

Trazodone, then sudoku on my phone until I crash.
posted by Because at 4:11 AM on February 21, 2015

I used to take 1mg/night of klonopin and it completely eliminated my nighttime anxiety. If you're experiencing this every or almost every night, I recommend seeking medication. I'm not on the klonopin anymore, but ~100mg of benadryl plus a large glass of wine does the trick when I have occasional relapses of nighttime anxiety.

I also have a detailed fantasy life involving torrid affairs with various fictional characters that is my go-to for occupying my brain when I'm waiting around for anything, be it sleep or an appointment or driving or whatever.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2015

I have a glass of warm milk--this works best if I don't need to turn on any but dim night-lights--then go sit with my guitar for about an hour, playing some involved but not very difficult riffs, more or less freeform (every now and then I astound myself for several bars in succession). When I feel drowsy, I can usually get back to bed without reconnecting the feedback loop. Lately this process takes about an hour.

Good luck with this.
posted by mule98J at 2:27 PM on February 21, 2015

Podcasts. I have a bunch that are just for falling asleep to.
posted by marylynn at 4:20 PM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I listen to one of the youtube videos of the best moments from MST3k - there are a lot of them- almost every night in the middle of the night if I wake up. They always relax me and I never seem to tire of them.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:43 PM on February 21, 2015

I mentally do an old-school TV station sign-off. I say to myself (sometimes out loud) "We now conclude our broadcast day," and then play The Star-Spangled Banner in my head while imagining eagles flying over pine trees and all that stuff.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:02 AM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

I play this song in my head. It's very reassuring, and the chant of "jai guru deva om" roughly means "I give thanks for my teachers" - which I take to mean that I'm grateful for the lessons in my life.
posted by tizzie at 8:07 AM on February 23, 2015

I think of three (or five) good things from the day, however big or little, + why they were good (in the pattern of "one good thing that happened today was that I made dinner and it was pretty tasty, and that's good because I'm trying to cook more often") -- and if I get lost or distracted, I go back to the first one.
posted by wintersweet at 8:34 AM on February 23, 2015

I get up and get a glass of milk or chocolate milk if I feel like it - this always works, I'm asleep in 20 minutes, max. Toast is optional.

I had an ex who did something I found incredible: when he couldn't get to sleep, he thought of different objects morphing into another object - like a man into a horse or a car into a tree. He didn't want to share this with me I had to kind of pry it out of him - I don't know why as it's pretty cool. He worked with lasers in a lab. I thought it was pretty a imaginative approach, tried it, but it didn't work for me. Keep trying different stuff, you'll find your solution.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:36 AM on February 23, 2015

This video really helps me. The only problem is that it's not supposed to be for falling asleep, so there is a bell at the end to bring you out of it. But by that time I am usually relaxed enough to fall right back asleep after it is over. Yoga Nidra - Meditation & Guided Relaxation
posted by katieanne at 8:59 AM on February 23, 2015

I went through a very difficult time, and at night, my mind would race in circles, reviewing the bad things over and over and over. Esp. bad when I would wake during ht enight and not be quite conscious enough to deal with it. Yay for Netflix. Old episodes of Law-n-Order are not too horrible if I end up staying awake through them, but mostly distracting enough to keep my mind off the bad track and go to sleep. Low volume, low brightness on the tablet. Considering re-reading The Hobbit/ LOTR, which may be familiar enough to put me to sleep.

When there's no Internet, I build houses, color schemes, landscape designs.
posted by theora55 at 9:30 PM on February 25, 2015

Watch old episodes of How It's Made on Youtube. Preferably the British version.
posted by exceptinsects at 12:53 AM on February 26, 2015

« Older What smartphone would you buy?   |   Books for my snowflaky boy Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.